6 Tips To Promote Mental Wellness While Travelling
With Spring Break behind us, and Summer Holidays still in the not so distant future, now is the perfect time to start preparing ourselves for travelling. As we therapists always say, the best time to start working through a problem is before it happens!
Traveling or going on vacation can be a very exciting experience. The anticipation and the actual exploration of another environment, country, or culture can stir up so many wonderful feelings. Despite the positive connotation, traveling can take a mental toll.
Let's face it, we usually travel to have a break. To rest, relax and recharge. Feeling anxious or out of sorts is not scheduled on my itinerary when I am packing and planning! But it has a tendency to creep in anyways.
Save the list below for your next trip to maximize enjoyment and mental wellness and minimize stress and overwhelm.
Picture taken by our Practice Director, Talisa Haskins: The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
Here are 6 travel tips to help you take care of your mental health.
1. Schedule time for rest
Whether your trip is for business or pleasure it's important to schedule in time to rest. Jet lag, or plain old travel fatigue can ruin your mood quickly. Schedule in late starts or long lunches to give your body and mind a break.
2. Check in with loved ones regularly
And that is not just for mental wellness, but safety too! Before you are setting out to travel (especially if you're travelling solo), let a trusted loved one know what your itinerary is.
Checking in with them regularly will ensure safety, and also keep you grounded to some normalcy. In a sea of new faces, a familiar one can be just what you need.
3. Find moments to move
This is an important one when you're sitting on planes, trains, or automobiles for long periods. Get up and move every hour (two maximum) to keep the blood flowing to your whole body.
If you practice a workout routine at home, try to keep some version of this while away too. Yes, everyone deserves a cheat day, but trust me, your body and mind will thank you for loving them consistently.
And of course, lace up those runners and get out exploring. The best way to see a new city is on foot!
4. Download your favourite music
Music is a great tool to help reduce stress and increase your mood.
Pumping up the tunes is also a great way to give your eyes a rest from the screen on travel days.
5. Stay hydrated
This can be tough especially when you are going from flight to flight or even traveling long distances in a car/train. Staying hydrated plays a vital role in maintaining your energy levels, and also helps to regulate your mood. Being dehydrated can impact your clarity and ability to think properly.
Remember to research your destination in advance to know if it is safe to drink tap water.
6. Be present and practice mindfulness
Staying in the present when travelling is very important for several reasons.
1. Jet lag messes with us a lot, so orienting yourself to your present location and timezone is important.
2. You don't want to miss out on everything you've been excited to experience. Plus you've probably saved a lot of hard earned money to take this trip, so we don't want to waste it!
3. Presence helps to combat those hard to shake anxious thoughts or feelings of homesickness. (Check out our blog on grounding exercises to help stay present when anxious).
With virtual therapy, you can stay connected even when you're far apart. If you need extra support while travelling, send us an email or book a session with your therapist.